SHAFAQNA -Â A Florida gun store owner is facing federal legal action for declaringÂ his business “Muslim-free” earlier this month.
The Florida chapter of theÂ Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),Â the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization,Â has filed a lawsuitÂ against ownerÂ Andy HallinanÂ and his shop,Â Florida Gun Supply, in Inverness. On July 17, he posted aÂ video online saying he was banning MuslimsÂ from entering his store. He said his decision was inÂ response to a shooting rampage byÂ a Kuwait-born U.S. citizen at two military facilities inÂ Chattanooga, Tennessee, earlier this month. The gunmanÂ killed four U.S. Marines and one Navy sailor.
Islam isÂ not “just another religion,” Hallinan says in the video, adding that heÂ hasÂ “a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all patriots.” He also beganÂ offeringÂ freeÂ concealed-carry classes and free public admittance to his shooting range.
CAIR claims that Hallinan’s policy singles out the followers of an entire religion for the actions of one person and violates federal laws. CAIR asks the court to grant an injunction against the gun shop prohibiting it from discriminating against Muslims.
“American Muslims have a right to browse and purchase guns, take classes on gun safety and shoot guns at a range without having to be profiled and discriminated,”Â Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of CAIR Florida, wrote in a statement. “Such discrimination is not only illegal, it is bad for our country and makes us less safe and less free.”
Hallinan’s lawyer,Â Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of the American Freedom Law Center, tellsÂ Newsweek the lawsuit is “absolutely frivolous.”
“There is notÂ one factual allegation ofÂ unlawful religious discrimination becauseÂ no such facts exist,” Muise says. “The fact thatÂ Mr. Hallinan does not want to provide weapons training or to sell weapons to terrorists or those who are affiliatedÂ withÂ terrorist organizations does not implicate any federal law whatsover.”
HallinanÂ previouslyÂ invited ShiblyÂ for a meeting andÂ training at his gun shop. But he later retracted theÂ gestureÂ when he was notified byÂ people whoÂ warned him that CAIR had been put on the United Arab Emirates’ list of designated terrorist groups, Muise says. He noted that CAIR wasÂ implicated as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2007 case against theÂ Holy Land Foundation, which was found guilty of aiding Hamas, aÂ U.S.-designated terror organization.
“This was and has to be a publicity stunt on the behalf of CAIRÂ becauseÂ that complaint is anemic,” Muise says about the five-page motion.